🔴 Writers Room

Last updated: 5/5/2018
Permalink: http://wp.me/PDKwi-1vf

This page includes interviews, Tweets, videos and other features offering insights into the art of writing and producing a tv show.

🔷 Featured: Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show (2014) 


Table of Contents


KEY: 🔴 Longer (Articles) ¤ ⭕ Shorter (Blog Posts, Subtopics) ¤ ❣Twitter One-Shots ¤  Recently added

🔴 Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show – Amazon Prime Video (2014)
🔴 Marisa Tam Interview – TwinCitiesGeek (Jan 2018)
🔴 Writing for Network TV – JB Interview w ETOnline (Oct 2017)
🔴 ‘Advice for Aspiring Writers’ – by 3 Blacklist Writers
🔴 Article from Vox: How to Make Great TV: “The Americans”
🔴 Context: Complex TV Dramas
🔴 AnyPossibility: Interview with a Writer’s Assistant: Dave Metzger
🔴 Interview with Writer/Producer Brandon Margolis (2016j
🔴 How A Blacklist Episode Comes Together (Dave Metzger)
🔴 Book: “Elizabeth Keen’s Dossier” (w Interview)
🔴 A Fanspeak Dictionary
🔴 “Dramatus Interruptus” (poetics/social media)
🔴 Two articles relating to social media & shipper-FDer wars
⭕ “Listen to me: You’re great” – A fan speaks
🔴 Daniel Cerone’s Tweets about 3:18 Mr Solomon – Conclusion
🔴 Thoughts on Daniel Knauf Interview w Blacklist Exposed
🔴 Jon Bokenkamp Interview w Blacklist Exposed
🔴 Daniel Knauf Interview on TV Writing on Observations
🔴 All BlacklistsDCd Polls:
🔴 Twitter: Is Red Liz’s Father?
🔴 Is Red too old for Liz?
🔴 ‘Red Needs … ‘ (Fan Video)
🔴 Beyond the Tango Milonga
🔴 Whose Intentions Matter?
🔴 ‘Life is a Carnevàle, Old Chum’
🔴 Writers Room Timeline and The Inadvertant Video Tour
🔴 Forget Bloodlines
⭕ Fear of Feedback
⭕ ‘Heavy Borrowing’
🔴 Unanswered Questions – End of S2 ✛ (needs update)
⭕ #TheBlacklist & The King James Bible
⭕ “A child shall lead them”
🔴 James Spader Tweets

Note: If your browser is Safari, you will likely have problems with the page jumps. Chrome works fine. The problem lies in the pop-open Tweets that are included in several posts which pop open; Safari doesn’t recognize this and lands you in the wrong place ~ You may have to Page Down. I use both Safari and Chrome on my iPad for this reason. Sorry.

Watching an episode of The Blacklist. (Mix of writers & assistants L to R: Brandon Margolis. Brandon Sonnier, Jim Campalongo, Mike Ostrowski, Taylor M, Jesse G, David B, Nicole P, Dave Metzger) In the middle, I think that’s pepperoni and green pepper.

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🔴 Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show [ Video ]

Amazon Prime Video: Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show http://amzn.to/2rmUuMg
// 2014, Video: Starring: J.J. Abrams, Matthew Carnahan, Steven S.DeKnight (Runtime: 1 hour, 28 minutes)

“SHOWRUNNERS explores the fascinating world of the US television showrunner and the creative forces around them, as they battle daily between art and commerce to deliver television comedies and dramas to audiences worldwide.”

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🔴 Marisa Tam Interview (Jan 2018)

TwinCitiesGeek: Minnesota-Born Writer Marisa Tam on Creating Stories for The Blacklist http://bit.ly/2DkjYC4
// 1/16/2018

T. A. Wardrope (TCG): What brought you to The Blacklist? What about the show appealed to you?

Marisa Tam: I did a program called NBC’s Writers on the Verge, which is an initiative from the network to train writers who are almost ready to be on a writing staff as well as an effort to increase diversity among writers for NBC and Universal shows. At the end of the program, the NBC folks sent the script I wrote in WOTV to the shows that were looking for new writers. It caught the eye of someone at The Blacklist, and they brought me in to meet with Jon Bokenkamp, the creator and executive producer, who liked me well enough to hire me.

… I had to watch three seasons over the span of a few weeks. But that race-against-the-clock marathon to get up to date with the show showed me the sheer breadth of James Spader’s abilities as an actor and the wide, ambitious variety of crimes and action sequences the show tackles on a regular basis. It was both daunting and an exciting prospect for a baby writer staring down her first paid writing gig.

TCG: Did you do any background reading or research into other shows or films or did you approch this as a “blank page”?

Marisa: My research tends to be more in the vein of weird news: articles about unusual jobs or brain disorders or missing nuclear weapons, of which there are more than you’d like there to be. We’re always looking for new sandboxes to play in that would give us either a weird backdrop for an episode or a persona for the Blacklister or even someone who provides a service to the criminal world—a venture capitalist for criminal endeavors, for example. But sometimes the bosses like something from another show or from ’80s or ’90s movies that will be the framework on which we build a Blacklist episode. We were even once asked to try structuring an episode like an hour-long When Harry Met Sally.

TCG: Can you talk about the process in the writers’ room? The show can be fairly intricate, and I’m curious how that works itself out with the writing team.

Marisa: This show works differently from a lot of other shows, where the writers will be together in a room for most or all of the day. The showrunners, Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath, generally figure out a story arc for a section of the season and pitch it to the room, which consists of 12 writers right now—though last year, we had 15! Then the writers pitch episodes that fit into that arc, and Jon and John run a “mini room” with a couple other upper-level writers, bringing individual writers in to break stories as they fit episodes into that arc. What that means for the rest of the writers is that we tend to work in smaller groups to flesh out ideas before the showrunners hear them.

The structure of the show can be pretty complex, but there is a loose formula, which helps when we’re coming up with stories. Generally, James Spader’s character, Red, brings a case to the FBI that presents as something like a kidnapping, but by the episode’s midpoint, the FBI team discovers that it wasn’t a kidnapping but a jailbreak, because the kidnap victim arranged her own abduction. So sometimes we’re essentially coming up with two different ideas and trying to find a fun way to connect them through an interesting twist. Plus, we also have to fit a couple of action sequences in there somewhere, along with any smaller character storylines that need to be serviced …

TCG: The show sits at an intersection of crime drama, tech thriller, and superhero science fiction. How do you feel about that? Are you inclined to any specific genre elements?

Marisa: I grew up on a lot of crime shows, but we were also loyal viewers of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Voyager, and stuff like Xena, so I hold a lot of different genres near and dear to my heart. The Blacklist is pretty grounded in comparison, though we definitely bend the rules on science that isn’t quite real yet … But I like that the show is wide ranging, because it gives us the opportunity to explore different worlds and the criminal possibilities that come from each of them …

TCG: Any advice for aspiring writers?

Marisa: First, it’s tough to be a good creator without also being a consumer. The more stories you take in—whether it’s books, movies, TV, theater, comics, or anything else—the more you learn what works and what doesn’t, which is invaluable when you start thinking about your own stories. And it sounds a little obvious, but write. No matter how bad the first draft is, and it’s always bad, it’s better to get words on the page first, then go back and make it better. Writing is hard work—and it doesn’t get any easier even when you get paid to do it—but, like any exercise, the only way you get stronger is through practice. …

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🔴 JB Interview w ETOnline (Oct 2017)

ETOnline, Philipiana Ng: From Script to Screen: How ‘The Blacklist’ Turned to a Fan Favorite to Ramp Up the Funny (Exclusive) http://et.tv/2ynrPL5
// 10/11/2017

Red’s quip about Glen’s living situation — that he’s a millionaire still living with his mother — came from conversations Bokenkamp and Spader, also an executive producer, had over the years. “The more I started thinking about it, the more it made sense. It is a little bit of a dig to the character of Glen. That’s how Red feels about him,” Bokenkamp says. “They don’t get along, but there is an affinity for the other. And at the end of the day, Glen is one of the people in Red’s inner circle who didn’t abandon him. I think Reddington is deeply grateful for that.”

Bokenkamp dug into the constraints that often come with having a show on a broadcast network, crediting the “limitations” as making The Blacklist “a better show.” “What surprises me is what we can show versus what we can say. We can’t show the top two inches of the rear of a man’s buttcrack, but we can show people being murdered straight up every week, which blows my mind,” he admits, referencing Glen’s PG-13 version of swearing, as noted in the script below. “I’m sure, in the cable version, he’d say, ‘Are you f***ing with me?’ But it’s almost more fun that he says, ‘Are you dickin’ with me?’ Who talks like that?”

[ more annotated script pages at link ]
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🔴 Interview with Writer/Producer Brandon Margolis (2016)

⋙ AbsoluteMusicChat, Paula Courtney (11/17/2016): My interview with Brandon Margolis, writer/producer on NBC’s The Blacklist TV series http://bit.ly/2FKNMnW
// 11/17/2016

PC: During the course of research I read about a NBC Writers on the Verge program that you and Brandon Sonnier successfully managed to get a place on, can you tell us more about that?

BM: Brandon Sonnier and I met when I first moved to Los Angeles. … Brandon had his own career going as an independent filmmaker and I really valued his opinion of my own work. It’s important for aspiring writers to have a circle of writer friends who they trust to give them an honest read. Brandon and I eventually realized how similar our tastes were and we decided to work together on an idea we had for a pilot. We had so much fun collaborating that we kept it going and worked on a number of samples that eventually secured us a manager. Our manager suggested we apply to NBC’s Writer’s on the Verge program, which is an open-submission contest for writers aspiring to write for television. Many of the networks and studios have similar programs, but we were fortunate enough to participate in NBC’s program. It’s a workshop over a few weeks where they really help the participants understand the level you need to write at to get staffed on a show. The most fortunate part of all was that we finished the program just as NBC was excited about a brand new drama series debuting that fall starring James Spader. While it’s far above my pay grade to say what determined us getting staffed on The Blacklist, coming off of NBC’s program was obviously a big help. …

PC: What was the process from application to being offered the job working on The Blaklist team?

BM: I can only tell you about the process from our end, which was that we got an interview with John Eisendrath and John Fox (a producer who had been involved with the project since before the pilot was written). It is my belief that NBC put in a good word on our behalf after finishing their program which probably helped us get the meeting. It’s very hard to know what a showrunner is looking for coming into that meeting, so my advice to any young writer who is lucky enough to be considered for a position on a staff is to keep in mind that this person is deciding who he or she wants to spend hours upon hours in a room with. Be polite, be personable, be humble. …

PC: On The Blacklist you are credited as staff writer on the pilot episode, that quickly changed to story editor by episode 6 and then to executive story editor in 2015. Can you provide the low down as to what each of these job titles entails?

BM: … The easiest way I can explain the differences in job titles is to think of military rankings. The lowest rank is a Staff Writer. The highest rank is an Executive Producer. If you’re fortunate enough to be asked back to a future season, depending on your contract, you can earn a title bump. Brandon and I work very hard, but there’s no denying how lucky we were to get hired on a show that was popular enough to be brought back for a fourth season. Every time a show gets cancelled, there are staff writers who might’ve just got their first professional job that they waited years for, and suddenly they’re back at square one.

PC: Almost every episode brings with it a storm in a teacup: the fans can be up in arms one week, only for it all to make sense the following week and the disillusioned breathe a sigh of relief. How do the writers, story editors and show runners deflect any criticism poured over the show?

BM: The truth is that while we hope people enjoy every episode, we know it’s impossible to please everyone all the time. And there’s not much that can be done in the immediate aftermath of an episode anyway. By the time the audience saw the season premiere of season 4, the writers were figuring out episode 410. All we can do is try to write the best and most interesting stories possible.

PC: Personally, I love the fact that the writers’ room and most of the cast actively engage with fans on Twitter, is this something that is very much encouraged?

BM: We love live-tweeting with fans! Not all of our writers are Twitter savvy, but those that participate love staying late Thursdays to engage the audience. The room orders dinner and it’s a fun viewing party.

PC: You couldn’t have possibly imagined that James Spader would bring such a force of character in Raymond Reddington in the way that he has, do you agree?

BM: I was aware of The Blacklist as an NBC project before he had been cast. I got to read the script and knew right away it was going to be a show I would love to watch. The first 5 pages of the script had me hooked. But when I heard James Spader had been cast, I knew the show was going to be a hit. I couldn’t predict how James was going to elevate the character, or what creative choices he would make, but I knew he was bringing a major league talent to a wonderfully written character. It was going to be undeniable. …

PC: How does the writers’ room keep a consistency in characterisation and tone for individual characters?

BM: It’s important for a writer to understand the characters’ points of view when it comes to pitching stories and writing scenes. We like to try and take characters in interesting directions, but the choices they make and things they say/do always have to feel true to who the characters are. So, if an idea is pitched that feels wrong for one of the characters, somebody in the room will usually point it out. Then we can discuss how to tweak the idea to make it feel more in line with whom the character is and what they’re going through at the time.

PC: How does everyone keep track of the various plots? …

BM:… Having been on the show since the beginning, Sonnier and I try to play the role of encyclopaedia when it comes to tracking stories. But at the end of the day, our head writers, Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath, decide the ultimate direction to take the characters and the story. …

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🔴 Article from Vox: How to Make Great TV: “The Americans”

If you are interested in how a tv drama is written and produced, you will definitely want to read this article by Caroline Framke at Vox about the creation of the FX series The Americans:

⋙ Vox (4/14/2016): “We’re creating a world that feels true” http://bit.ly/1p6rHYf How to make great TV, explained by the FX spy drama The Americans.

Like The Blacklist, the show is about the world of espionage at the end of the Cold War. It follows the course of how two Russian agents, matched by their handlers to become man and wife, are embedded in the US and must deal with unfolding events surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union. They must do this while disguising their activities from their co-workers, friends, neighbors and – most importantly – from their teenaged son and daughter, who were born in the United States and are US citizens. The show is based loosely on a real case of deeply embedded Russian spies who were outed several years ago.

The article, which runs about 10 pages, covers the basic steps and roles in tv production, including:

Table of contents
Act I: Meet the showrunners
Act II: Writing the script
Act III: Pre-production
Act IV: Shooting the episode
Act V: Post-production
Act VI: Conclusion

The final few paragraphs:

“[ Showrunners ] Weisberg and Fields can turn to their writers, who know the voice of the show and are invested in telling the story. They can turn to their directors, who can transform words on a page into something truly cinematic. They can turn to their designers — hair, makeup, costumes, sets, and everything in between — and walk into a whole new world. They can turn to their actors, who can step into a scene and feel their characters’ passion, rage, and heartbreak so keenly that, for a minute, they become their characters. And they can turn to the post-production staff, who can take something that’s in pieces and make it whole.

“Without this kind of teamwork, a series is never going to reach its full potential. Weisberg and Fields couldn’t make a television show by themselves. They need the help of an equally committed, exceptional team to bring their vision to life — and they have one.

“If you’re precious about it, and you only want it done the way you want it done, then everything is going to feel constrained,” Fields says. “But if people are free within the confines of the show to explore, you can be surprised … and that’s the best.”

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🔴 Daniel Cerone’s Tweets about 3:18 Mr Solomon – Conclusion

Episode writer Daniel Cerone’s tweets about 3:18 Mr Solomon – Conclusion (4/14/2016). Daniel is a writer and executive producer of The Blacklist. He previously wrote for Dexter, Motive, The Mentalist and Charmed. The order is reverse chronological, so to follow the order in which he tweeted them, start at the end.

For Twitter newbies: Many of these tweets were part of “conversatiions” (indicated at bottom right of each Tweet). To see the conversation, do a search on Daniel’s Twitter handle (DanielVCerone) plus a unique phrase from the tweet. For instance, for the first conversation, you could type: DanielVCerone Thanks, Juliet.

For script, go to: http://wp.me/pDKwi-2Oe
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🔴 Interview with a Writers’ Assistant

AnyPossibility 4/1/2016: Interview with a Writers’ Assistant: Dave Metzger http://bit.ly/1UXkmrV Dave works on #TheBlacklist. He recently wrote Episode 3:15 “Drexel.”
// – This is a very long interview (>8000 words) about the screen-writing business and Dave’s experiences in it. If you are interested in tv writing, you will definitely want to read the whole piece. Here are a few excerpts:

● “… [F]ilm school – the program at Florida State University [ where Dave went to grad school ] is not overtly about television at all. Even though the degree says ‘Film, Television and Recording Arts,’ the MFA program had, at the time, really no emphasis on television as a medium at all. But the way the school is structured, somewhat coincidentally or accidentally, it’s actually more like working on a TV show than a series of features in a lot of ways, especially from a writing perspective. Because, you’re working with a group of people in a collaborative environment, on different stories, over months and years; but you’re doing these little pieces, one at a time, all strung together one after another. And you’re workshopping stories together, revising them and bouncing them back-and-forth, as a group. And you’re doing a lot of different shows – short films, in that case – simultaneously. It was an incredibly collaborative experience.” …

● “[S]imultaneously, I was observing that the feature industry was collapsing. Or at least, if not collapsing, it was, and is, rapidly contracting. Having worked in features for two, two and a half years, first at internships, and then for [John] Davis, it was really clear that there were fewer films being made in 2016 than there were in 2006 and even fewer than were being made in 1996. And the movies that are being made are one of two types: low budget films and very high budget films. The 40-million-dollar or 60-million-dollar movie, which used to be the place for a younger writer to maybe cut their teeth, is now much less common.

“Meanwhile, television is sort of going through this explosive renaissance. There used to be 3 broadcast networks, then there were 4 networks; and now, suddenly, there are 100 networks. And they all need content, which allows for a huge variety of different stories. And simultaneously, there’s this creative explosion, where shows can be darker, more complex, more serialized, more varied, and more interesting to write. Television is going through a golden age, which you hear all the time. So for all those reasons, it seemed like a good idea to go into TV.” …

● “Anyhow, I got the essential advice: if you’re really going to make a run at this you really have to write everyday. And I’ve taken that seriously, I think it’s really important. I mean, in film school, we wrote a lot, but also I was learning to be a boom operator [overhead microphone placement] and a gaffer [electrician] – we were working 13 hours a day, everyday – so I was immersed in film production and not writing, but as soon as I got out of film school, back to writing every day.”

● “… [O]n on a show like The Blacklist … [e]ach episode tells its stand-alone story, but also, and this is true in season 3 especially, there are a lot of serialized elements to every episode. You have to be aware of the larger, overarching story we’re telling as a group.”

● [ About writing “Drexel”: ] “At the end of season 1, I had a tiny nugget of an idea, really just an image, of a guy watching a lot of screens in a sort of Howard Hughes way.” …

“[W]e also wanted to do, for really long time, an episode that takes place in the world of art. In the world of the show, we’ve sometimes seen the lead, Reddington, buying and selling interesting paintings and sculptures; Or you’ll see him with a gorgeous, maybe priceless painting, just in the background of an apartment or warehouse or whatever. More broadly, Reddington is, in addition to being a ruthless, violent criminal, he’s a sophisticated guy, with refined tastes. That sort of juxtiposition is one of the most charming elements of his character and of the show. We thought it would be cool to have an episode that kind of dove into those elements more, and really lived in that world.

“It was Jon Bokenkamp (creator and co-showrunner of The Blacklist), my boss, who came up with the idea of combining those two seemingly-disparate concepts into a single episode. …

“Luke [Lukas Reiter] suggested a really smart way of integrating the artist with what we knew would be the trajectory for the last 8 episodes of the year – the concept of the painting that appears in the final moments of the episode.”

● “Eventually the time came. My bosses, and all the other writers, some of whom I’d worked with for years, all came down into the basement to hear me walk them through the work I’d done. Honestly, it was kind of a scary moment. This thing I’d worked through in my head over and over a thousand times, suddenly saying it out loud to a bunch of people you really respect. … I pitched over the course of maybe 45 minutes, like a little show. At that point, you’re almost acting out the episode in real-time, you know? Because when it airs that’s about how long it would be. … At the end, though, the response was really positive, really supportive. The bosses were like, ‘great job, kid. This is really cool.’ They had a couple of notes, really great smart notes. And then they tasked writers to supervise me, to write the outline and then the episode.”

● “We started shooting on the 7th of January, a ten day shoot, and then we started post[-production], and finished the edit and locked picture and sound maybe 5 days before it aired, so mid-February. And it it aired on the 18th of February.”

● [ On different jobs: ] “[T]there are Assistants to Executive Producers, who are folks that work directly for the Executive Producers – if it’s not clear, higher-ranking TV writers are Producers, and the highest-ranking of those are the Executive Producers, of which the one or two at the very top is the showrunner(s). So the Executive Producer Assistants are assistants, often people who were formerly Writers PAs, or assistants to other, non-writing hollywood-types. They typically sit at a desk and answer the EPs endless phone calls, set up meetings, keep the EPs schedule, co-ordinate all their travel, things like that. Then there are two more assistant-level jobs: Script Coordinator and Writers’ Assistant. The Script Coordinator is an assistant level position that’s high up, and can take years to get into. The Script Coordinator does a lot of things, but they are kind of the hub, kind of a funnel for all the documents, scripts, and parts of scripts, that come out of the writers room, on their way to the studio, the network, production (set), and post-production. They’re the keeper of the castle, in that sense. And, also, among many other things, they make sure that the scripts make sense, and track through. In the sense that scripts are blueprints of a TV show, they make sure that those blueprints are clear on a technical level.”…

“And then there’s my job, the Writers’ Assistant. Writers’ Assistants are writers, or aspiring writers, with quite a bit of experience in the entertainment business already. … [I]n my experience, the core of the job is basically to sit in the writers’ room and take notes while the whole team of writers are talking about the story of each episode, and the story of the season. … The challenge is, really, knowing what to write down, and what to leave out …. sometimes writers are in the zone and pitch dialogue really fast, in incredible detail – some writers are gifted with the ability to just spit out words that really sing, just off the top of their heads – and that needs to be captured exactly, verbatim – other times people pitch the idea for dialogue but it doesn’t need to be captured verbatim, you just need to give them the concept of what was discussed and they’ll make it sing on the page when they have time and quiet. And then, remember, this whole thing is non-linear. … So you have to teach yourself to work and take notes in a non-linear way, making a rough sort of outline as you go, adjusting it, and constantly making it better – even as people around you are debating and revising and talking a mile a minute.”

● “Maybe you’re one of the best writers among your incredibly talented friends. Another way to put that is you’re one of the best writers you know. And then if you walk into a writers’ room (especially when I walked into The Blacklist writers’ room, which was a lot of brilliant and experienced writers, a lot of them at the producer level, people who had worked on Alias, House, Dexter, Friday Night Lights, people who had worked on shows that I had greatly admired), when you walk in you go from being the smartest writer in the room to the 18th smartest writer in the room. And it really behooves you to, with intention, shut up. And listen.”

● “[S]peaking from a very network perspective, just as an example – our show is 6 acts – that means there are 5 commercial breaks, and you want the story to turn or to move or intensify at the end of every act. … You want to have the story turn because you reveal new information that makes us reconsider everything we’ve seen in a new way, and ideally, you want to do that four or five times an episode. So to learn how to do that is not something that anyone is born with. That’s a hard skill that you develop only after seeing it happening over and over again, and then starting to participate in that happening. And that takes a long time.”

● “If you want a job as a TV writer you have two options, you either get staffed on somebody else’s show or you create your own show. There used to be really only one option, which was you get staffed on somebody else’s show and you work your way up because there were 3 networks and there were 15 shows being made at a time. But now, we’re in an era where there are a hundred networks and there are a million platforms. And all those places are hungry for content, for shows. So my two options right now, broadly speaking, are get staffed on some else’s show or sell a TV show that I have written. So my future is one of those two things or don’t get a job.”

● “When you’re surrounded by people who do it, and they’re there encouraging you, saying, ‘hey, you could do this too,’ it demystifies it and makes it seem more attainable. So yeah, in part it’s networking, in the traditional sense. But even more, it’s giving you that sense of, “oh yeah, the people that are doing this are smart hardworking people. But they’re just people. You can do it too.” That’s what’s been the biggest help for me, so far.”

This is about 20% of the interview. As I mentioned, it is long, but it is chock full of interesting and useful information. I learned a lot! – LizzieB

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🔴 💥New💥 Book: “Elizabeth Keen’s Dossier” (with Interview)

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/1RrfrLU

April 3, 2016. Tara Bennett, who wrote “Elizabeth Keen’s Dossier” along with Paul Terry, was kind enough to answer several questions for me.

Q: Can I ask you a few questions about “Elizabeth Keen’s Diary” and publish your answers on my blog? Most of them have to do with the degree to which fans can assume the content reflects “canon.” In other words, when I come across something I wasn’t aware of, can I assume that the show creators signed off (explicitly or implicitly)? The fact that @BlacklistRoom is promoting the book suggests there is some level of coordination and approval.

A: The book is indeed canon. We worked with the show and all of the materials came from the production & writing team (scripts, screen source documents from the episodes, photography, etc…) Also we worked with Nicole Phillips to ensure our copy was accurate and properly vetted by the show. We were writing the book as they were writing the first half of S3 so we had to adjust our writing per changes in their writing as it happens with books like these. The EPs had final review of the book. We made changes according to their notes for the final product.

Q: A couple examples of things that were new to me:

● Liz writing she would like to “un-hear” a comment Red made about an “erotic” experience with Madeline Pratt.

● I don’t remember the exact wording, but Liz suggesting “freedom” is important thematically.

A: Per the Liz comment about in-hearing that’s a humorous comment about hearing Pratt’s overtly sexual comments re: Red.

As in he’s talking about her in a way that Liz doesn’t want to hear the dirty details :)

As to freedom being a theme, yes, Liz gaining knowledge through her profiling of her life in the book is about gaining her freedom in terms of knowing her past so it can finally give context to her present. Also the book’s conceit is this is an analog (thus safer) compilation of what she’s learned about everything via Red, the Blacklisters and her peers. She’s been compiling it since Red came into her life and when she was on the run with him at the top of S3, she continued to catalogue details that would eventually get inserted into the book in case she lost her freedom and needed to expose & contextualize everything that got her to this moment.

Q: Did you use the comics as a source? The reason I ask is I haven’t read them so I don’t know if you may have gotten material that I am not familiar with from them. This would imply to me I need to read those first (before writing about your book).

A: Yes, the comics are included in the book but only as a Blacklister in that section and some context copy. We were provided the scripts to Nicole’s comics as we were writing the book for inclusion but it was not the starting point, or the linchpin, to the book in any way.

Q: Did the show provide any of the “props” (documents etc) featured in EK’s Dossier?

A: Yes, we were provided all of the production designed materials from the series team but those were primarily the wanted posters, ID badge images and basic HR forms for the Blacklist agents. We also were provided the screen used images that often filed Aram’s screens when they were investigating a case. However, our wonderful design team, Amazing 15, created the spreads utilizing all of those images and turning them into files that Liz would just grab from the FBI archive.

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🔴 Two articles relating to social media & The Blacklist fan wars

Variety, Maureen Ryan: ‘The 100’ Lexa Mess: What TV, Jason Rothenberg Can Learn http://bit.ly/1pwBsjy
// 3/14/2016

Note: This article discusses the pluses and minuses of social media involvement in television dramas. The problem The Blacklist has harkens back to the pilot, in which a sleezy Red invokes a mysterious relationship with newly-minted FBI profiler, Elizabeth Keen. Red has intimate knowledge about Liz’s past. The obvious reason would seems to be that Red is her lost father, but the creepiness of his behavior suggests a quirky sexual attraction. Unlike some shows, The Blacklist has never abandoned its pilot. Quite the opposite: the mystery has been extended and, as a result, warring factions have arisen between viewers who view Red as a father or father-figure (father/daughter or FDers or “daddygaters”) versus those who view Red and Liz as a potential couple (or “Lizzington shippers”). Both sides seem to be encouraged by the show, with storms of anger erupting each time one or the other faction is delivered more “bait.” The article below discusses the relationship between social media and the creative staff of the CW series “The 100.” In comparison, however, to the flame wars the Blacklist has engendered, the case of “The 100” may be simplistic.

⊰ ♤ ⊱
“If you wanted to come up with a playbook for how to handle TV promotion and publicity in the age of social media, a few of the major rules might look like this:

● Don’t mislead fans or raise their hopes unrealistically.
● Don’t promote your show as an ideal proponent of a certain kind of storytelling, and then drop the ball in a major way with that very element of your show.
● When things go south, don’t pretend nothing happened.
● Understand that in this day and age, promotion is a two-way street: The fans that flock to your show and help raise its profile can just as easily walk away if they are disappointed or feel they’ve been manipulated.

“It all sounds like common sense, right? Except that ‘The 100’ managed to break all those rules and more in the last ten days or so. And the tumult surrounding the show contain lessons that other shows and showrunners could learn from. …

“What has occurred since March 3 is not just a problem for ‘The 100’ and the CW, it’s a cautionary tale for all of television, which increasingly depends on fans to bang the drum for shows and increase their profiles.

“As it happens, the resurgent CW just made a big bet on fan-driven entertainment as the future of TV. The network just renewed all of its shows, in part because it measures engagement in a host of ways; overnight ratings are no longer the be-all and end-all. Social media engagement counts for a lot, and word-of-mouth promotion is often what makes or breaks a marginal show. …

“But intense fan engagement is a double-edged sword. The fans who know how to help raise a show’s profile and make noise on social media are also whipsmart in any number of other ways. Today’s TV viewers won’t stand for being used as pawns, nor will they help promote a show when they feel it has let them down. With the events that occurred in the March 3 episode of the show, many think ‘The 100’ did just that. …

“It would seem that the attitude of the showrunner and others associated with the show is that if they just ignore everything for long enough, it’ll all go away. Meanwhile, fans are passing around lists of ideas for how to lower the show’s social media profile (Rothenberg himself has already lost thousands of Twitter followers), and the March 10 episode got the series’ worst-ever ratings. To understand how the balance of power has shifted in the fan-driven age, a subset of viewers got #LGBTfansdeservebetter to trend for hours during the show’s time slot on March 10, demonstrating that they can use their collective might to very different uses than a network might like.

“This is not a call for showrunners to pander to their audiences — far from it. It’s a reminder that every story turn and promotional effort should be thoroughly thought through. Sloppy, dismissive and tin-eared moves by a show or its personnel aren’t easy to bury or ignore these days, and fan engagement is a collaboration, not a spigot to be turned off whenever things get inconvenient. …

“As I said in a March 4 post on the fracas, I could understand why [fans] were upset — but in dozens of posts, tweets and emails, they helped me understand why they felt betrayed. … These fans were smart, eloquent and impressively well-versed in promotional strategies, media conventions and tropes. They’re also right. …

“[I]t is baffling that the show all but ensured that its most hardcore fans knew that Lexa would appear in the season finale. The trumpeting of her appearance at the end of the season prompted many viewers, especially fans of the Lexa and Clarke pairing, to keep hope alive, but in reality, there was no hope to be found. … [T]he way “The 100” shamelessly toyed with LGBTQ viewers — who are among the show’s most active promotional allies — constitutes inexplicable and deeply unwise misdirection. …

“Critic Nicola Choi wrote that when they spot a lesbian or bisexual woman on TV, many LGBTQ fans simply resign themselves to the fact that the character will die. … Lexa’s cliched death was especially galling given that recently, the show had leaned into the idea that it was a beacon of enlightened representation for LGBTQ characters. Rothenberg gave multiple interviews on the topic — Variety included — and retweeted stories from an array of publications that praised the show’s representation of gay, lesbian and bisexual characters.

“Aided by the enthusiasm of the show’s many LGBTQ viewers, the outreach campaign worked. ‘Until last week, you had numerous marginalized teens and young adults who were feeling engaged, feeling represented, and feeling (dare I say it?) hopeful,’ a writer named Kylie noted in an eloquent deconstruction of tropes and how they operate on TV. ‘Which inherently put you in a position of power over them.’

“To writer and professor Elizabeth Bridges, ‘The 100’ used that power in an irresponsible and harmful way.

“‘We knew [Lexa] could possibly be killed, and we knew that [Debnam-Carey’s] fate for any potential future seasons was questionable,’ Bridges wrote. ‘But we also had constant reassurance from the writers and showrunner that we could trust them not to screw up these characters, that they were aware of the [dead lesbian] trope and would avoid it even if’ the actress left the show. …

“Perhaps Rothenberg thought killing off Lexa in that manner was shocking [[ “surprising”? ], but her death ended up feeling rushed, off-kilter and poorly handled. … ”


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NYT, David Brooks: The Shame Culture http://nyti.ms/1S5KHQC
// 3/15/2016

Note: I rarely agree with David Brooks, but in this opinion piece, he cites Andy Crouch on social media who describes some of the cultural characteristics of groups in this domain that sheds some light on the antagonism that has emerged between the “shipper” groups and the father/daughter group(s) (aka “F/Ders” or, more derisively, the “daddygaters”) that has arisen around the show “The Blacklist.” I felt this most acutely when I was active on the WSJ Speakeasy “blog” (actually, just a comment section) about The Blacklist. I think parts of this piece are quite accurate. Brooks has a larger purpose, which is to argue that the “shame” culture of social media is morally inferior to the traditional “guilt” culture which he sees as being eclipsed – at least on social media. His argument is actually against post-modernism, I think, in favor of the security of being able to declare what is “good” and what is “evil” across all cultural contexts. This argument I reject (except for a basic norm of “human rights,” eg girls should be able to go to school, etc). Still, Brooks’/Crouch’s insights as to the workings of the ‘voluntary associations’ of people on social media are instructive.

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“The world of Facebook, Instagram and the rest is a world of constant display and observation. The desire to be embraced and praised by the community is intense. People dread being exiled and condemned. Moral life is not built on the continuum of right and wrong; it’s built on the continuum of inclusion and exclusion.

“This creates a set of common behavior patterns. First, members of a group lavish one another with praise so that they themselves might be accepted and praised in turn.

“Second, there are nonetheless enforcers within the group who build their personal power and reputation by policing the group and condemning those who break the group code. Social media can be vicious to those who don’t fit in. Twitter can erupt in instant ridicule for anyone who stumbles.

“Third, people are extremely anxious that their group might be condemned or denigrated. They demand instant respect and recognition for their group. They feel some moral wrong has been perpetrated when their group has been disrespected, and react with the most violent intensity. …

“He notes that this shame culture is different from the traditional shame cultures, the ones in Asia, for example. In traditional shame cultures the opposite of shame was honor or “face” — being known as a dignified and upstanding citizen. In the new shame culture, the opposite of shame is celebrity — to be attention-grabbing and aggressively unique on some media platform.

“On the positive side, this new shame culture might rebind the social and communal fabric. It might reverse, a bit, the individualistic, atomizing thrust of the past 50 years.

“On the other hand, everybody is perpetually insecure in a moral system based on inclusion and exclusion. There are no permanent standards, just the shifting judgment of the crowd. It is a culture of oversensitivity, overreaction and frequent moral panics, during which everybody feels compelled to go along.”

Cross-posted under Scribblings and Scuttlebutt Jan-Mar 2016
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🔴 A Fanspeak Dictionary


“Feel free to reproduce this in whole or part wherever and crediting me would be nice, but it’s just a dictionary and even if you don’t, so what. I didn’t make this stuff up, I’m just defining it.”
Source: http://bit.ly/1Od5Dkp

This mostly relates to fan fiction …

* A *
Actorfic – This is fan fiction where the fan fiction is not centered around characters but the actual actors who play that character. Thus a story wouldn’t be about Giles or Adam Newman but about Anthony Stuart Head and Kristian Schmid.

Adultfic – Fan fiction that depicts sexual or overly violent material. It would be rated PG-13 to NC-17 if it were a movie.

Alternate Universe [AU] – This is where an author will choose to stray from the canon of the show and create events which are on their own timeline. Usually this is when an author will deny a character’s death or act like an episode never happened or say “what if” episode A had happened differently, or they will act like the show stopped a certain place and keep writing as if there are no new episodes after that. If someone writes a fan fiction where Ami never breaks out, this is considered alternate universe. Fan fictions that take place after the end of a show are not alternate universe, however, because there is no canon for them to contradict.

Avatar – Closely related to a Mary Sue, but this is a character which is the actual author inserted into the fandom. For instance, if I write for the character Meg Freeman, who *is* me, but breaks out, this is an avatar. It is basically a vehicle for the author to really, truly play in the fandom.

* B *
Beta Reader – A beta reader is like an editor of fan fiction. This is anyone who is sent a story for the purpose of reading and reviewing a story before it is released to a list or archive so that the author can make improvements to the story before everyone else sees it. These are some of the most helpful and best tools in fan fiction writing. I encourage everyone to seek out a beta reader for every fic they write.

* C *
Canon – All of the events which *expressly* happen in the fandom. Meaning, everything, person, event, statement, that happens in the show, movie, or book is canon. For example, Megabyte’s real name being Marmaduke is canon because it expressly says in Origin Story that it is. Everything that happens in the show is canon. This is sort of used like a law for fan fiction. alternate universes are where an author deliberately ignores, goes against, or stop paying attention to canon in order to create their own canon.

Challenge – A challenge to write a fan fiction with a certain, theme, line or idea. If someone says, “See if you can write a story starting with the line ‘Call me Ishmael'”, this is a challenge. Any fiction which answers this is a challenge fic.

Challenge Fic – Any fan fiction which answers a challenge

Character Death – A heading or warning put on stories warning the reader that in the story one of the canon characters dies. If a story about Adam Newman being killed was written this story would carry a Character Death warning.

Con – Not particularly fan fic related, but common in fan speak. It means a convention of fans.

Consensual – A heading in adult fan fiction that says that all the parties that have sex in the fan fiction are consenting and want to have sex. This is as opposed to semi-consensual where consent is forced or a character is nudged but not outright forced into sex or otherwise having sex but not for reasons of their own (a character sleeping with someone to save someone’s life for instance) and nonconsensual which says that one of the characters is raped (non consensual fanfiction is not allowed on this archive, btw)

Continuation – A fan fiction which carries on after the end of a movie or series. Any fiction which takes places after Living Stones, such as a fiction about Kevin eventually going to college and getting a job, is a continuation. This doesn’t break canon, but merely extends in the author’s imagination. It isn’t an alternate universe because a continuation has no canon to break, since all the canon ended with the end of the movie/book/story.

Crossover – A fan fiction which incorporates characters, events, places, ideas, etc from another fandom. If the TP and Buffy were to run into each other, this would be a crossover, since they are two separate fandoms merged into one. Crossovers are also denoted sometimes with the word: “xover”, the X standing for cross.

* D *
Deathfic – A fan fiction which centers around the death of a character. This usually is a fiction about how the other characters cope with the loss.

Disclaimer – A header that MUST be put before all fan fiction which acknowledges that the fan fiction author acknowledges the copyrights to the material which they are writing for. This is both a courtesy and necessity among fans who write fan fiction. All fan fictions on this archive must include disclaimers.

Drabble – A fan fiction that is self contained and is no more than 100 hundred words. A half drabble is a fan fiction of 50 words and a double drabble is a fan fiction of 200 words. OR A drabble can sometimes mean a very short fic that is not exactly 100 words but extremely short, for instance, it is not incorrect to call a 500 word fan fiction a drabble.

* E *
Ep – Short for an episode of a show

Erotica – Tasteful fan fiction which involves characters in sexual situations. The difference between erotic and outright pornography is mainly in the intent of both writer and reader. The line between erotica and pornography is a fine one and easily blurred. However, all fictions here at Expressions are considered, at least by the owner of the list, to be erotica and not pornography.
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* F *
Faction – Parts of a fandom which are split up among different issues in a fandom. For instance, those that support a character and those that don’t are considered factions.

Fandom – The activies, canon, characters, fan fiction, and fans of a particular show, movie, book, or other thing. Everything that happens involving the Tomorrow People fans is the Tomorrow People fandom. This is also used as a synonym for “universe”, meaning the world in which a show, movie, or book takes place.

Fanon – Things that are not strictly canon, but do not contradict it and are widely accepted by most fans. For instance if most fans just accept that Megabyte’s middle name is Archibald, even though it is not expressly canon, it becomes fanon.

Flag-waving – The practice of dividing into faction and supporting or “waving a flag” for your faction. For instance, if there are those who “wave a flag” for Adam, they like and loudly support the character of Adam Newman. This can be a fun practice, but has turned ugly in the past. Flag waving is asked not to be done on the Expressions mailing lists.

Feedback [FB] – Replies that an author gets from readers commenting on the story. This is probably the second most important part of any FANDOM, and feedback is STRONGLY encouraged. Feedback is what motivates writers to keep writing when they get no payment or compensation for the time and effort they put into their stories. Basically, feedback is the lifeblood of fan fiction.

Femslash – A story depicting. Sexual situations between females. See also – slash.

F – A notation on adult fiction which denotes that sexual situations involving only one female are going to take place in a story (ie – masturbation).

F/F or f/f – A notation telling readers that a story contains a sexual situation between two females. If Ami and Jade were to have sex in a story, the F/F sign would be used to tell readers that sexual situations between two females was going to occur in the story. Also known as femslash.

F/F/F, etc… – A notation telling the reader that there are going to sexual situations between more than two females. If Lisa, Ami, *and* Jade had sex together, this would be denoted with an F/F/F symbol. There may be more than three females having sex in the fan fiction, but they are usually not denoted in the f/f/f symbol.

f/m – A notation telling the reader that sex between a female and a male is going to take place.

Filk – A fan fiction that is a parody of a song. For instance, if a writer writes “Tomorrow People Pie” which is a parody of “American Pie”, this filk.

Flame – A negative, hurtful comment meant only to anger or upset a person. This is considered rude and will cause a person to be banned from the Expressions lists and most other mailing lists and message boards. Also, to send a flame is to flame. It can be a noun or a verb.

Fluff – A light fiction which is usually just a day-in-the-life piece that is cute and humorous. A fiction about Jade taking a humourous shopping trip would be considered fluff.

* G *
Genfic – Fan fiction which does not contain sexual situations. It is fan fiction that would be rated G to PG. It contains no sexual or overly graphic violence and relatively little cursing.

Genre – The type of fan fiction that it is. This can mean a lot of things. The fandom itself can be considered a genre.

* H *
Hurt/Comfort [h/c] – A fan fiction in which a character is put through a traumatizing experience in order to be comforted. For instance, having Adam break his leg and then get lots of hugs is a h/c fan fiction.

* L *
Lemon – Any fan fiction containing graphic sexual situations that are described. Much like adultfic and PWP’s, only a lemon might be a full length story that contains merely scene of graphic sex.

Listee – Any person on a mailing list.

Listmommy/Listowner – The owner or moderator of a list, the person who makes sure that everything is running correctly and nobody is flaming or violating the rules.

Literotica – Literary erotica, literary pornography. [ Source: NYT (7/4/2015) Days of Our Digital Lives http://nyti.ms/1Tv6kcO ]
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* M *
Mary-Sue – Any original female character which is too perfect, too extreme, or otherwise badly done. There is no real hard and fast standard for what constitutes a Mary Sue, but some guidelines can be found here The Mary Sue Guidelines.

Marty-Sam – Any original male character which is too perfect, too extreme or otherwise badly done. The male counterpart to a Mary Sue.

m/m – A heading denoting sex between two or more males. Another m indicates that there is a threesome. Note, however, that there may be more than three male characters having sex even if only the m/m/m heading is used. Three can also be used in a general sense to denote multiple sex partners.

* N *
Newbie – Any fan that is new to a fandom or list.

NS – New Series. This refers to the series of the Tomorrow People that aired in the 1990’s. A character guide can be found here. [Thanks to Beth Epstein!]

* O *
OC – An acronym meaning Original Character. An original character is any character that is not in the series and is created by the author.

OFC – Original Female Character. See also Mary Sue

OMC – Original Male Character.

OOC – Out of Character. (1) When a canon character acts in such a way as to be totally contrary to what they would in the series. If Adam was to get violent and start fights, this would OOC. (2) A term used during RPG’s when a person wants to say something as themselves, outside of the game. (e.g. – OOC: I have to leave my computer in twenty minutes.)

OS – Old (Original) Series. This refers to the first series of the Tomorrow People which aired during the 1970’s. A character guide can be found here that is VERY helpful [thanks to Beth Epstein!].

OT – Off Topic. This is used in the subject of emails sent to mailing lists when someone is talking about things that are not directly pertaining to the purpose of the email list. For example OT: Happy Birthday, Mary Sue!. OT messages should be used sparingly as they tend to clog a list with lots of chatter that other listee’s might not like.

* P *
Pairing – The selection of characters that are in a relationship together. This is denoted by using the abbreviations of their names together or just their name. M/J is, in the Tomorrow People fandom, Megabyte/Jade put together. That is a pairing.

Plotbunny – An affectionate term for an idea that sticks in your head and you just HAVE to write it even if it goes nowhere or keeps going off into other ideas.

Pre-slash – A story which is not strictly adult or strictly about a homosexual relationship but which introduces the possibilities, situations, and circumstances for one to occur. A story about Megabyte and Adam getting closer on a vacation, not starting a relationship per se, but getting there, that’s pre-slash.

Pre-series – A story which is about events occuring before the series began. A story about how John lived before he broke out in the Old Series is pre-series.

PWP – Porn Without Plot or Plot, What Plot? This is a piece of fan fiction that contains no other action than an overt sexual act between the characters. A piece that is about nothing besides Liz and John having sex is considered a PWP.
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* R *
RL – Real Life. That annoying time between fan fictions. ;)

Round Robin – A fan fiction written by several authors taking turns each writing a part. These are great fun on a mailing list.

RPG – Role Playing Game. A game that involves people pretending to be their favorite characters. If you played a game where you were pretending to be John, you’d be playing a Role Playing Game.

* S *
‘shipper or shipper (relationshipper) – Short for Relationshipper. This is someone who supports a particular pairing. For instance, fans who support a relationship between Adam and Lisa are Adam and Lisa ‘shippers.

Sillyfic – A light piece of fan fiction which is rediculous and meant to amuse. A fic that is about Tyso and Stephen getting into some comical mishap is a sillyfic. Unlike fluff, Sillyfics often break canon rules or get OOC, but it is okay in the case of sillyfic, because the author intends to do this just to get a good laugh.

Songfic – A fan fiction which is based on a song or includes a song. These fics can range from silly to very serious and heartbreaking. Many times a song fic will not include the song, but will have the lyrics at the end for the reader to infer how those lyrics reflect the character and situations.

Spoiler – Anything in a fanfiction or email which gives away parts of episodes or movies. For instance, if a fan fiction gives away the ending of Living Stones, a spoiler warning would be issued so that anyone who hadn’t seen Living Stones and wanted to could know to avoid that fic. This is used more commonly in fandoms that still have new episodes airing, such as Buffy. Spoiler warnings really aren’t required in the Tomorrow People fandom, but for such fandoms as Buffy and Smallville, spoiler warnings are appreciated.

Squick – Anything that upsets, disturbs, or grosses a person out is a squick. If something squicks you, it upsets and disgusts you. Some people are squicked by adultfic or other things.

* V *
Vignette – A piece of fan fiction which is centered on a characters feelings, emotions, experiences, reflections, and thoughts. Usually very short. A fiction that is just about Carol thinking of Earth while she is in the Trig is a vignette.

Vanilla – Referring to a type of sex which is ordinary male/female without any variations or kinks.

* U *
UST – Unresolved Sexual Tension. This is a term referring to interactions between characters that aren’t expressly sexual but have sexual undertones. If two characters are dancing and begin to get very close but then are interrupted, there is UST there. This is a term first coined by X-Files fans to describe the chemistry between Mulder and Scully.
* X *
Xover – An abbreviation for crossover.

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🔴 John Bokenkamp Interview – Blacklist Exposed


From the WSJ Blog: http://on.wsj.com/1HPCIGq

7:31 am December 5, 2015
WSJ Belle wrote:
New Jon Bokenkamp (The Blacklist Exposed) podcast released today

12:04 pm December 5, 2015
WSJ Belle wrote:
The hosts asked questions of their own, and some viewer submitted questions. Some things that were mentioned in the podcast…

● They are going to return to the Blacklister of the week format later in the season.
● They weren’t sure if they wanted Liz to be on the run with Red for a day or for the entire season.
● Liz being on the “dark side” will continue, that there’s more to that. He wants to remind people that Liz did shoot someone “in cold blood.”
● They decided to do things differently this season and use Blacklisters that Red had never heard of, such as Arioch Cain. (But they gave them numbers anyway.)
● They will return to Blacklisters that have importance to Red, later.
● Some Blacklisters later this season will involve fairy tales, and religion.
● The show has issues with the network censors on a daily basis. The Djinn episode was especially troublesome.
● They all have favorite Blacklisters. Bokenkamp likes scary and weird, Eisendrath likes complex, and Spader likes those on a global scale.
● Bokenkamp admits he doesn’t write well about emotions or feelings, that his wife helps him with that. (Or the other writers.)
● The comic book is basically an “alternate universe,” and he told the writer to avoid a certain 4 or 5 year period that contains details that may reveal the “big endgame.” But he said when she broke that rule, that whatever she wrote about was okay, and that “it worked.”
● The endgame he has in mind is still the same as it always has been.
● He once again used the phrase “whether or not Red is Liz’s father…”
● They constantly keep the mythology and past episodes in mind so that things make sense.
● There is an actor from the first season that will return this season (not sure if it’s a Blacklister).
● He didn’t want to kill Fitch and they filmed an alternate ending with him surviving at first, but then saw that the rest of the story didn’t fit if he survived.
● He joked about Red’s blood flowing through Ressler’s veins.
● They may revisit Samar’s story about her brother.
● They may introduce Mr. Kaplan’s backstory, how she came to meet Red.
● They came up with the idea of Aram having a puppy love crush on Samar back in the Front when Aram was holding her hand in the hospital. He did confirm that Samar and Aram had never hooked up, that it was basically a friendship. But it was Amir Ariston’s acting that gave them the idea.
● The affair between Cooper’s wife and the neighbor will be addressed again.
● He did not mention Tom or Cooper at all, and very little Megan Boone. He did say that Lizzie rolling her eyes when Red does one of his soliloquies was Megan Boone’s “contribution.”
● He said that the scene filmed in a shipping container on a ship was NOT a nod to “shipping.”
● He loves to read comments online about the show and that every week (or everyday?) someone goes online to find the weirdest thing they can find to share with the writers. For instance, Red’s cat from his secret apartment has his own blog (forgot the cat’s name).
● No mention of Megan Boone’s pregnancy or whether or not they are going to include it. (But ● maybe I missed it… I’ll have to listen again.)

● He admitted he had picked on Daniel Knauf for talking long in his podcast interview in September, and now he did the same, talking for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

10:32 am December 5, 2015
WSJ Curious1 wrote:
Listened to some of the podcast referenced above. My thoughts
● JB seems to be a nice guy who actually is interested in what fans think of the show. Very passionate about this show.
● JB had never heard of shipping until this show. LOL, it is the strangest thing I ever heard.
● I am glad they stopped the Blacklister of the week format and hope they don’t go back to that format. I can watch any number of CBS shows for that type of story. I was not able to finish it all but it was quite interesting

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🔴 “Advice for Aspiring Writers”

♤♤ From Brandon Margolis, Brandon Sonnier and Dave Metzger,
♤♤ The Blacklist writing staff

I. Three of The Blacklist writing staff put together a compilation of things to do, watch and read for those interested in becoming tv and film writers.

Dave Metzger

Dave Metzger

The writers are Brandon B Sonnier and Brandon Margolis and Dave Metzger who is listed on IMDb as Note Taker for the show and who responded to the request from an aspiring writer.
“The Two Brandons” or “BrandonX2” (as they are known on Twitter) work as a team and have written several episodes each season, including the iconic and unforgettable Pilot (Ranko Zamani), which they co-wrote with Jon BokenKamp, the Series Creator.
Brandon Margolis and Brandon B Sonnier

Brandon Margolis and Brandon B Sonnier

They also wrote (with links to scripts) The Freelancer ¤ Wujing ¤ The Stewmaker ¤ Earl King VI ¤ Leonatd Caul ¤ Marvin Gerard ¤ and
Zal Bin Hasaan. This list includes some of my favorite episodes. Though all three writers are frequently active on Twitter during the shows, Dave Metzger is a friendly and helpful presence even on off-days. His fielding this request and channeling the information to Twitter Blacklist fans is perfect evidence of this,


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Details (also at the Google docs link attached to Dave’s Tweet):

Advice for young writers

1) Most important thing is to write every day. Write every day. You have to write every single day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. Make time for it. You’re only a writer if you write every day.

2) Watch this video: https://vimeo.com/24715531

Listen to what Ira Glass says: put yourself on a deadline, and do a large volume of work, in order to “close the gap.”
3) Read a lot of scripts. Have read every great movie, and every movie you admire.

Start here for TV Shows: https://sites.google.com/site/tvwriting/

And here for features:

4) Read The Playwright’s Guidebook, By Stuart Spencer.

If you read only one book, this should be it. It will teach you more about writing drama than any screenwriting book; trust me, I have read them all.
5) Read this:

6) It’s not important to read more books. But if you really want to, read these first:

— The Dan Harmon Story Structure Tutorials 101-105, linked here:

— Making a Good Script Great by Linda Seger http://amzn.to/1NOQ48n. The best introduction to basic feature structure. Much more accessible and practical than “Story” or “Screenplay”, the two so-called bibles of the industry (that are now seen as somewhat outdated).

— Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder http://amzn.to/1NBbm2P. Everyone in hollywood has read this by now, very good if you want to write the kind of movies Blake did.

— The Anatomy of Story by John Truby (especially the first 100 pages) http://amzn.to/1LVRLcy.
But don’t take any of those things too seriously.

If you want even more book recommendations, I can send you an even more detailed list.
7) Listen to John August and Craig Mazen’s podcast. Start with the free ones, but then pay for the old ones. It’s incredibly, incredibly worth the $2.

If you want to write features, listen to a few of episodes of the Nerdist Writer’s Panel. If you want to write TV, listen to EVERY episode. Especially the early ones. And ESPECIALLY the ones with Vince Gilligan:
8) It’s not critical that you get a film degree. It is critical that you learn, somewhere, how to understand movies and TV shows on a deep level – much deeper than “That movie sucks.” You should be able to articulate what you didn’t like about it, why, what might have been done differently. Same with movies and TV shows you love. Everyone in hollywood, or at least all writers and most agents and producers, can do this at an expert level. We all live in one town together and talk about it all day constantly and never get bored. Watch a lot of movies, think about them, and talk about them in a nuts-and-bolts way with your smartest friends.
9) Watch your three (ten, fifty) favorite movies or TV pilots/episodes with a pen and paper and a stopwatch. Write down every scene, and what minute it starts and ends. (If you’re doing this with TV shows, make special note of the act breaks are (meaning when the commercials come on).) You can learn SO MUCH from doing this exercise; it might be the single best thing you can do to improve your understanding of structure.

Follow-Up Tweets:



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🔴 II. Context: Emergence of Complex TV Dramas


The context of contemporary screenwriting can be found in the ‘new’ (actually, about 20 years old at this point) serialized “primetime” dramas, which most people trace back to The Sopranos, and to HBO more generally. Shows such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, 24 and The Wire differ from shows from the 1950s through 1980s when shows broke down into daytime “serials” (women’s tv) vs evening episodic procedurals (men’s tv) in which each plot was introduced and resolved within the hour. Neither Matt Dillon nor Captain Kirk carried their troubles with them from episode to episode.

HBO with its subscriber model was able to experiment with these formulas and the combined or complex form serial/procedural was born, combining aspects of both the “male” and “female” genres. Much has been written about this development, and I don’t want to delve into it all here, except to mention that viewing patterns have also changed with various modes of delayed viewing mixing with live or first-run viewing.

The Blacklist of course is a network show, which means it has a more grueling schedule than the subscription cable model (22 episodes a season versus 12 or so longer shows). Unlike HBO, it is also subject to the more stringent limitations on acceptable language and sex (to be blunt) and in its dependence on ratings and advertising dollars. However, it also falls into the genre of the combined serial/procedural long-form drama, described by David Auerbach in “The Cosmology of Serialized Television” http://bit.ly/1FEDhkq (2014), an impressive review of the genre if you can get over it’s snarky preference for BBC-style literary adaptations.

I have found a number of books that discuss this genre from the perspectives of the show-runner, director, critic, and academic. Below is that list, in order of my preference. All quoted material is from Amazon.

1. Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling by Jason Mittell (2015) http://amzn.to/1jG5tcV (academic, but because it identifies a language and structure for discussing the genre, should probably be read first).

Complex TV offers a sustained analysis of the poetics of television narrative, focusing on how storytelling has changed in recent years and how viewers make sense of these innovations. Through close analyses of key programs, including The Wire, Lost, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Veronica Mars, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Mad Men the book traces the emergence of this narrative mode, focusing on issues such as viewer comprehension, transmedia storytelling, serial authorship, character change, and cultural evaluation. Developing a television-specific set of narrative theories, Complex TV argues that television is the most vital and important storytelling medium of our time.

2. Book: Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show, by Tara Bennett (2014), based on the documentary Showrunners

Reader Review: The Real Story behind your favorite shows – Must Read!
By Joseph Genera on April 25, 2015
After watching the documentary on Netflix, I had to read the book! As an actor on the front side of the camera, I always marvel when I’m on set how everything seems to run like a well-oiled machine – 25-150 people running around like their butts are on fire, making sure everything and everyone is where they’re supposed to be at the exact right moment. The technical side always fascinates me, especially when viewing the final cut.

Tara Bennett has ‘caught’ this world at its best – and the not-so-best parts Hart Hanson said it best “…running an American show is like sex…no matter how much you ask around or how many courses you attend there’s no real preparation for the real thing.”

Kudos to Ms Bennett for such an excellent read, and to all the people who’s hard work makes sure we are entertained week after week. (And for providing us ‘talent’ with work! – if not for them…) 5 Thumbs up!

♤♤ ⇈ ⇊
The Documentary: Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show http://amzn.to/1liNQS8

SHOWRUNNERS explores the fascinating world of the US television showrunner and the creative forces around them, as they battle daily between art and commerce to deliver television comedies and dramas to audiences worldwide.

3. How to Watch Television, by Ethan Thompson (2013) http://amzn.to/1OMVRbp (Advice for critics and for viewers who want to speak intelligently about television.)

We all have opinions about the television shows we watch, but television criticism is about much more than simply evaluating the merits of a particular show and deeming it ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Rather, criticism uses the close examination of a television program to explore that program’s cultural significance, creative strategies, and its place in a broader social context.

How to Watch Television brings together forty original essays from today’s leading scholars on television culture…. The essays model how to practice media criticism in accessible language, providing critical insights through analysis—suggesting a way of looking at TV that students and interested viewers might emulate. … While the book primarily focuses on American television, important programs with international origins and transnational circulation are also covered.

… contributions are organised under tfive main themes: Aesthetics and Style; TV Representations: Social Identity and Cultural Politics; TV Politics: Democracy, Nation, and the Public Interest; TV Industry: Industrial Practices and Structures; and TV Practices: Medium, Technology, and Everyday Life. …

4. Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad by Brett Martin (2013)

A revealing look at the shows that helped TV emerge as the signature art form of the twenty-first century.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the landscape of television began an unprecedented transformation. While the networks continued to chase the lowest common denominator, a wave of new shows on cable channels dramatically stretched television’s narrative inventiveness, emotional resonance, and artistic ambition. Combining deep reportage with cultural analysis and historical context, Brett Martin recounts the rise and inner workings of a genre that represents not only a new golden age for TV, but also a cultural watershed. Difficult Men features extensive interviews with all the major players, including David Chase, David Simon, David Milch, and Alan Ball; in addition to other writers, executives, directors and actors. Martin delivers never-before-heard story after story, revealing how cable television became a truly significant and influential part of our culture.

✛ Bonus: Finally, there are those who trace the serialized drama back to the 1990s, to include seminal shows including Lost and Daniel Knauf’s Carnevàle (Knauf is now a Blacklist writer), and even The X-Files. This book on Carnevàle is good:

Carnivale and the American Grotesque: Critical Essays on the HBO Series (2015) http://amzn.to/1Rw6iTu

HBO’s Carnivàle was a critically-acclaimed, elaborate period narrative set in Depression era America that set the stage for the current explosion of cinematic storytelling on television. Despite an ambitious and unusual storyline, remarkable production design and stellar cast, the show was cancelled after only two seasons. No other television series has been so steeped in history, spirituality and occultism, and years later it retains a cult-like following. This collection of fresh essays explores the series through a diverse array of topics, from visual aesthetics to tarot symbolism to sexuality to the portrayal of deformity.

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🎅 Red Needs … for Christmas (Video)💋💋💋

🔔 by the AANF (with a special thanks to Celine Albareil)

🍷✨🎄✨🎁✨🎊🎄 ❣🔆❣ 🎄🎊✨🎁🎄✨🍾 🎊

🍷✨🎄✨🎁✨🎊🎄 ❣🔆❣ 🎄🎊✨🎁🎄✨🍾 🎊


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🔴 “Dramatus Interruptus”


⭕ 1. Art and customer service ( ⇇ sucks )
⭕ 2. There’s no escaping social context ( ⇇ start here )
⭕ 3. There’s no escaping social media
⭕ 4.’Scandal’ and ‘The Blacklist’
⭕ 5.’The Blacklist’s use of social media
⭕ 6. Are TV serials visual novels?
⭕ 7. Where the cool kids are
⭕ 8. Golden Age / Literary Biomimesis
⭕ 9. ‘Dramatus Interruptus’ 🔑
⭕ 10. Social Media Engagement: Not Optional

⭕ BIBLIOGRAPHIES‼️: Social Media, Biomimesis
♤♤♤ A. Poetics
♤♤♤ B. Politics
♤♤♤ C. Neurobiology
♤♤♤ D. Social Media and the Arts
♤♤♤ E. Social Media and Co-Creation
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⭕ Writer and Co-Executive Producer Daniel Knauf,

♤ creator of HBO’s Carnevàle


So you think this shit is easy?

So you think this shit is easy?

[ No, he did not say that! ]


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⭕ Writers’ Room Timeline and the Inadvertant Video Tour


Sometime around December 2014, a camera crew breezed through The Blacklist’s Writers Room in Los Angeles, cameras rolling. An article featuring a snappy interview with James Spader promptly appeared online. It is unusual outside of Hollywood for an article to focus on the behind-the-scenes creative processes of a tv drama series but this one did. Still, few readers likely went beyond the page one interview with Spader to a second video “below the fold” appearing to be an interview with Ryan Eggold. But only the first minutes featured Eggold. The rest was a walk-through of the writers room, featuring its long walls covered with photos, timelines and episode details scribbled on whiteboards – a gold mine for Blacklist obsessives, The episodes even appeared to have letter grades assigned to them!

I found all of this fascinating, but thought no more of it until later, while trying to construct my own timeline – a hopeless exercise I’ve since decided – it occurred to me to illustrate my timeline with a photo of the real‼️ timeline from the writers room. So I found the article again and did some screen shots of that video. It was not until I began enlarging the white board photos that I realized they included a huge reveal. Several, actually. But the main one had to with the key question of whether Red is Liz’s father. At this point, a year later, we know (or think we know) that Liz shot and killed (maybe) her father (possibly), but here is what the white board showed:

From The Blacklist writers' room... (Screenshot from video). Darkened for legibility.

From The Blacklist writers’ room… (Screenshot from video). Darkened for legibility.

My immediate response was astonishment, followed rapidly by elation, then guilt, followed by a resolution to “do the right thing.” I sent the screenshot to a couple of TBL writers who are active on Twitter, but received no guidance as the what I should do. Too bad, too, as I had already settled upon my blackmail fee – just kidding. None-the-the less, I did not post it until April, after asking some on-line Blacklist friends what they thought. One said she thought it had already been posted on Tumblr. So that’s when I posted it on this blog on the “Clues” section under “Predictions.” Later, when I tried to find the article article again, I could not locate it. I think it was ABC or CBS – corporate espionage!

Since, I’ve also seen it on Tumblr which I reblogged under “Scribblings and Scuttlebutt.” At any rate, it’s recently been a shared joke among TBL writers & fan tweeters than on any photo they now post on Twitter, the white boards and bulletin boards are always carefully blurred out.

Original version (April): “I don’t know how important this is. I found it when I remembered a video clip I had seen of the writers’ room and looked it up to grab some screenshots. I couldn’t even read it until I enlarged it. A camera crew had gone through to document in general how tangents were dealt with. There are two video segments; this was in the latter. I tried tweeting some of the writers who I had gotten responses from in the past. No response. I think it’s pretty clear where things are headed since episode 2:10, so I don’t think it’s a huge reveal at this point. Also, it could just be a ruse, planted by the writers to have some fun.

“The Blacklist went another direction with regard to what happened to Liz’s father, based on the Season 2 finale. I don’t think this was a deliberate mislead, however. Rather, as Peter Stormare (who played Berlin) observed:

“They have six or seven different scenarios, and I don’t know what direction they will go in. I do not envy the writers because they are really kicked from both sides all the time. They try to come up with the best solution, and sometimes they have to do rewrites over night. TV is a gruesome business. But there is a great revolution that has happened on TV. A lot of talent is moving in…”
Source: IAmRogue (10/22/2014) Peter Stormare Talks ‘Autumn Blood,’ ‘The BIg Lebowski 2′ and ‘The Blacklist’ http://bit.ly/13oWEMW

Here, for fun, are a few additional screen shots from that fateful tour of the writers room.

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🔴 Twitter: Is Red Liz’s Father?


⭕ Take-always from Daniel Knauf’s Twitter conversation on 2/4/2015


Take-always from Twitter conversation with lead writer and co-executive producer Daniel Knauf 2/4/2014

Take-always from Twitter conversation with lead writer and co-executive producer Daniel Knauf 2/4/2014

More Tweets from Writer and Co-Executive Producer Daniel Knauf
BlacklistDclassified @BlacklistDCd May 17
@Daniel_Knauf why won’t anyone give a simple yes-or-no answer to “Is Red Lizzie’s dad? (meaning bio-dad) just riddles in response…
⊰ ♤ ⊱

❥ Daniel Knauf @Daniel_Knauf May 17, 2015
@BlacklistDCd Seriously. The question’s been answered definitively about 50X. Everyone on the show just shrugs and figures what’s the point?

I ♤Blacklist @lvBlacklist May 17
@Daniel_Knauf @BlacklistDCd yes it has.. The answer is No but people are still in denial lol. It’s okay, a Red and Liz kiss should fix that😈

BlacklistDclassified @BlacklistDCd May 17
@Daniel_Knauf Just tell me it’s not some riddle that’s going to be sprung at some point. I thought I’d get AWAY from politics by blogging!

BlacklistDclassified @BlacklistDCd May 17
@lvBlacklist you have no idea how finely hairs can be split lol

⊰ ♤ ⊱

❥ Daniel Knauf @Daniel_Knauf May 17
@BlacklistDCd Oh god, really? How tacky would that be?

Ashley Marie @filmya247 May 17
@Daniel_Knauf @BlacklistDCd VERY!

⊰ ♤ ⊱

❥ Daniel Knauf @Daniel_Knauf May 17
@lvBlacklist @BlacklistDCd Not for the Appalachian demo.

I ♤Blacklist @lvBlacklist May 17
@Daniel_Knauf @BlacklistDCd sorry for my ignorance but what does this mean lol?
1 retweet 1 favorite

Ashley Marie @filmya247 May 17
@Daniel_Knauf @lvBlacklist @BlacklistDCd I think I have an idea, but afraid to say it aloud for confirming my ignorance 😂😂

⊰ ♤ ⊱

❥ Daniel Knauf @Daniel_Knauf May 17
@lvBlacklist @BlacklistDCd Just a cheap uncle-grandpa inbreeding shot. ;-)

⊰ ♤ ⊱
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ciara chick @chickciara May 17
When do we find out @NBCBlacklist is RENEWED for season 4 @JonBokenkamp @Daniel_Knauf 😅😅 season 3 CANT be the last 😰😰

Jillia @jazillia007 May 17
@chickciara @NBCBlacklist @JonBokenkamp @Daniel_Knauf It definitely needs to prove that it can improve the ratings.[…]

⊰ ♤ ⊱
❥ Daniel Knauf @Daniel_Knauf May 17 
Daniel Knauf, Co-Executive Producer and Writer for The Blacklist

Daniel Knauf, Co-Executive Producer and Writer for The Blacklist

@jazillia007 @chickciara @NBCBlacklist @JonBokenkamp Uhm. ❣ Not true. It just needs to hold on to 2/3 of the viewership to survive.

Jillia @jazillia007 May 17
@Daniel_Knauf @chickciara @NBCBlacklist @JonBokenkamp Ah thank you so much. :) I hope season 3 can do that, Mr Knauf.

⊰ ♤ ⊱

❥ Daniel Knauf @Daniel_Knauf May 17
@jazillia007 @chickciara @JonBokenkamp ❣ Believe me, we’ll die trying. Or Jon will kill us. He is as ruthless as The Dread Pirate Roberts

⊰ ♤ ⊱
❥ Daniel Knauf @Daniel_Knauf May 17
@spleenaffogato @lvBlacklist @BlacklistDCd ❣ This is not LOST. We do not make it up as we go along. @JonBokenkamp has a vision.

BlacklistDclassified @BlacklistDCd May 17
@Daniel_Knauf @spleenaffogato @lvBlacklist @JonBokenkamp if Red ever needs a good defense atty for death penalty trial ➔Alan Shore’s the man

⊰ ♤ ⊱

❥ Daniel Knauf @Daniel_Knauf May 17
❣@BlacklistDCd @spleenaffogato @lvBlacklist @JonBokenkamp He’s more than capable of representing himself in court. Trust me. I know.

BlacklistDclassified @BlacklistDCd May 17
@Daniel_Knauf @spleenaffogato @lvBlacklist @JonBokenkamp That would be cool.
⋙ But he got Marvin Gerard instead! Curses‼️ – 12/6/2015 LizzieB

❣Red, Lying & the Jesuits



❥ Daniel Knauf @Daniel_Knauf May 23, 2015
❣ The satisfaction of your audience is guaranteed only as long as your standards are higher than theirs.

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🔴 Sex and the Older Man



TheGuardian: Maggie Gyllenhaal: At 37 I was ‘too old’ for role opposite 55-year-old man http://bit.ly/1cR9I2e Ms Gyllenhaal, of course, played opposite James Spader in ‘Secretary.’ He is now 55 years old.

⋙ So, let me make sure I understand this. Thirty-two (Megan Boone’s age) is too young and 37 (Maggie’s age) is too old to be the love interest of a 55-year-old man (James’ age). So 33-36 is … “just right”? (Must be Hollywood.) 🍻 🍻 🍻 🍻 🍻 🍻

Twitter conversation link: http://bit.ly/1VNTlVq thru 9/9/2015
[ Click to enlarge ]
Pssssst … “Young women are not attracted to older men.” Um, lol?

Oops. Damage Control

DM From L.A.: “Regarding that tweet you saw this morning: it has nothing to do with Blacklist. [ – ] and I have a beautiful friendship, but some friends ‘ship us all the time, so we were back and forth between friends regarding that, so what you read was used in reference to our own friends. It was part of a thread of messages that a few got accidentally tweeted by mistake.I would greatly appreciate it if you took down your tweets regarding that, it has nothing to do with Red or Liz, it’s just tongue in cheek humor about me, and I don’t want to be a part of a viral misunderstanding please.”

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🔴 Sexual Overtones in [2:11] Ivan Denisov:

♤ Beyond the Tango Milonga


Question: Are there sexual overtones in this episode? There is so much more going on in this episode that is sexually suggestive that what goes in the Tango Milonga scene alone is inconsequential. It is there in the dialogue, in Ressler’s questions, of course, as well as in the inferred polymorphous perversity of Red’s bed. It is in the choices made regarding Liz’s makeup and hairstyle and in the selection of paintings on the walls in the bar and dining room. The adoring way Liz looks at Red in the negotiation scene is another example. But all of this is moot, because it has long been established that artists are not the arbiters of how their work is intepreted. This is known as the “intentionality fallacy” that all good liberal arts majors have drilled into them in college http://bit.ly/1NCsvZT. The artist’s interpretation of their work has no more weight than that of any other observer. If did, we would spend all our time and effort reading artist’s autobiographies and not need Art at all.
(These tweets are reverse chronological starting at the 💙)


There are sexual overtones and undertones and just plain tones everywhere in this episode.

The writers for [2:11 Denisov] listed on IMDb are: Lukas Reiter (of Boston Legal) and Jonathan Shapiro (of The Practice). Andrew McCarthy (of ‘The Brat Pack’ movies) directed. Sounds like a family reunion.
↥ ↧
@ChicagoCollen It’s exciting; I found that as a result of finding out J Shapiro (of “The Practice”) co-wrote 2:11 Ruslan Denisov
↥ ↧
🐣 ➔ Deadline: Maria Bello Joins David E. Kelley’s Amazon Drama Series ‘Trial’ http://bit.ly/1K2y81Q co-wrote w his producer from “The Practice” Jonathan Shapiro

🐣 Kinda sad James won’t be in new David E Kelley/Amazon series ‘Trial’ – also w J Shapiro (co-wrote Denisov w Reiter) collaborating bit.ly/1K2y81Q

🐣 The tango milonga segment is the writing highlight of the episode. Shame they didn’t
acknowledge DK’s contribution on IMDb #TheBlacklist

🐣 Lizzie’s hair is the same style as Tango dancer [2:11 Ruslan Denisov] #TheBlacklist @NBCBlacklist http://pic.twitter.com/d0WlCTw72z [[ ⋘ & of woman in painting … ]]

🐣 Paintings reflect relationships, themes [2:11 Ruslan Denisov] #TheBlacklist @NBCBlacklist Director Andrew McCarthy http://pic.twitter.com/GMb6HL1m7z
🐣 Liz: “What’s wrong?” Red: “Everything” [2:11 Ruslan Denisov] #TheBlacklist @NBCBlacklist http://pic.twitter.com/k0q80mwodm

🐣 Liz picks up on Red’s change of demeanor: “What’s wrong?” [2:11 Ruslan Denisov] #TheBlacklist @NBCBlacklist http://pic.twitter.com/WKWBDm6bgP

🐣 Seeing the CIA agent, Red instantly knows what’s happened – & who’s to blame [2:11 Ruslan Denisov] #TheBlacklist http://pic.twitter.com/57JWQVy3k0

🐣 Stagecraft: Napoleon Crossing the Alps by David ➔ as Red’s empire is threatened [2:11 Ruslan Denisov] #TheBlacklist http://pic.twitter.com/lgXaTtxyAc

🐣 Meanwhile, another kind of dance [2:11 Ruslan Denisov] #TheBlacklist @NBCBlacklist http://pic.twitter.com/BUeuC3wmqh

🐣 Red describes the art of negotiation as a tango – a seduction. [[2:11 Ruslan Denisov] #TheBlacklist @NBCBlacklist http://pic.twitter.com/POzJc3KYai
// collage ⇈ subset ⇊
💙➔ 🐣 ‘A tango milonga – the pure essence of negotiation’ – Red [2:11 Ruslan Denisov] #TheBlacklist @NBCBlacklist http://pic.twitter.com/HHRLbqv9w9

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⭕ Ratings, Advertising, Fan Feedback – and Fear?

Tweets thru 9/8/2015


“They’re making everyone afraid to try anything interesting”



Twitter Conversation Link: http://bit.ly/1UADQ64

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🔴 Thoughts on Daniel Knauf Interview


with The Blacklist Exposed


BlacklistPodcast/GoldenSpiralMedia: Interview with @Daniel_Knauf, Co-Exec Producer & Writer On The Blacklist http://bit.ly/1PzY4GG
This link brings up a player that will play even if you leave the page: http://bit.ly/1Kz8zsv
The interview with Daniel Knauf runs for almost two hours and almost gave me vertigo in Daniel Knauf’s descriptions of how arbitrary and serendipitous the creative process can be. Daniel Knauf is a writer and co-executive producer of The Blacklist. He describes the highly charged and time-pressured process in which the show is produced, focusing on the writing and touching on conflict between creativity and continuity. Two forces seem to counter-balance the creative exuberance: Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath’s structural scaffolding and sense of the end-game, and James Spader’s close working relationship with the writers to give his character (and the others) substance, consistency and coherence. Knauf takes on some controversies, such as the development of Tom’s and Liz’s characters in Season 2.
I totally agreed with the discussion of the silliness and irrelevance of the Emmys and of just how incredibly good The Blacklist is. I don’t watch enough TV drama to know, but I wonder: Is this a genre that’s being defined just now? Is it being overlooked for that reason? I loved Knauf’s theory that the people who voted on the Emmys don’t watch television – instead going with what their grandkids tell them is cool (or hot, – whatever). Are there examples of shows that have been or are doing this better?
I must confess I have only binge-watched series prior to this. I also have had no sense of loyalty to series unless I liked their direction – even if I’d watched up to 4 seasons (Downton Abby). I abandoned Mad Men (after 3 seasons), Game of Thrones (3 seasons), Breaking Bad (1 season), and House of Cards (1 season – but I tried three times!) On the other hand I’ve watched The Sopranos three times, Rome twice, and I love Vikings and Homeland. I loved a mini-series Titanic Blood and Steel (4 or 5 times) and can’t tell you how many times I watched the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice w Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle (Madeline Pratt!)
Anyway, I am no expert, just have a certain background. I am surprised at how much the team and “pitch”-ing dynamics DK has described about how TBL works is similar to that in organizations I’ve worked. We tend to think of artists as solitary geniuses – and some are. But any kind of scale requires teamwork and specialization – with creativity woven throughout the entire fabric of a project, not dictated by a single, solitary genius. (Though this happens too.)
I learned a lot from this interview, both about The Blacklist and about how film and TV shows are written and produced. An hour and fifty minutes sounds like a lot of time, but it just flies by. The player (which hopefully works for you) lets you play it in the background. The upshot: Thoroughly engrossing and blindingly enlightening, as well as unsettling and – yes indeed – vertigo-producing.

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🔴 Whose “Intentions” matter? Photoessay

♤ Mirror Imagery in [3:1] The Troll Farmer


Before: Black silhouettes [3:2 Troll Farmer]

Before: Black silhouettes [3:2 Troll Farmer]

I did some photo enhancement of the mirror shot referred to by roominthecastle [on Tumblr http://bit.ly/1Oi6d3P%5D and came up with this. What was not clear before was the image at top center which is a composition of Red and Liz’s faces. Viewed onscreen, the figures are simply black silhouettes, the image in the upper center a black blob [“before”]. What emerges is much more interesting [“after”] This reminded me of the “kiss illusion” in 2:10 Braxton2 [“after” inset]. It turns out both episodes were directed by Michael A Watkins. I learned in college and grad school that the artist’s intentions are irrelevent in interpreting a work of art, but there has been an situation lately with a writer indicating that the Tango scene did not have romantic implications because he did not intend them to be there.


After: Image lightened to show detail. Inset: "Kissing Illusion" [2:10 Luther Braxton2]

After: Image lightened to show detail. Inset: “Kissing Illusion” [2:10 Luther Braxton2]

Assuming for the moment that intentions do matter, these two scenes clearly show that more than the writers’ intentions are relevant. The director’s intentions are as well. And what of the actors, editors and other pre- and post- production crews? Creating a series like this involves the “intentions” of many people at many levels. What keeps them all in synch? Is it even possible for a coherent work of art to emerge?.

I actually posed this question to Daniel Knauf (the writer referred to above). He suggested the writing of the King James Bible was a good comparison of how different teams of writers, directors etc can produce something of lasting beauty, value (or whatever the measure is). I looked this up and it’s a fascinating history. Christianity in Britain at the time was in complete turmoil and there were pressures involving the roles of the monarchy and nobility as well, – and yet with the guidelines established by the king, teams of scholars and churchmen were able to write what was clearly a literary and religious masterpiece.



I think it’s an interesting interesting comparison. It is clear that the kissing illusion and the appearance of Red and Liz’s faces in the mirror in 3:1 Troll Farmer a way reflecting their emotional connection (and alienation) have indeed been “intentionally” placed in the scene – regardless of what may have been intended by the writers. Where does the overall direction come from? Is Jon Bokenkamp the equivalent of King James? – a sort of over-mind who keeps the show from crashing down to earth or spinning off into outer space [ie shark-jumping]? Or maybe you have to go even beyond the showrunner(s) and TPTB and hope that God/gods/muses or who/waterever somehow are at work to produce a result that we can really sink our hearts and minds into – that somehow, a masterpiece emerges despite the complexity of the creative process – not to mention the pulls of commercial interests, popular prejudices and political correctness.

David Auerbach (The Cosmology of Serialized Television http://bit.ly/1FEDhkq 2014) argues that most American serialized dramas fail due to the intrinsic complexity inherent in the genre and that the few that have succeeded have required strong and sustained leadership from the top. I hope for more successes in this emerging genre. I hope and pray that The Blacklist will one of them.
[ Cross-posted under “Clues” in “Recent Episodes” ]

TheAmericanReader, David Auerbach (2014): The Cosmology of Serialized Television http://bit.ly/1FEDhkq

Christianity[.]com, Ken Curtis, Ph.D.: The Story Behind The King James Bible http://bit.ly/1j1iXQk //➔ fascinating read

RoomInTheCastle [Tumblr] (10/3/2015): Smoke. Manufactured to draw the camera away from the real fire http://bit.ly/1Oi6d3P

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L to R: @Tay2theLO, @BrandonBSonnier, @schecpiece, @hlb323 (holding laptop), @BrandonMargolis (holding cup), Sam C (gal next to helen), @JonBokenkamp, @nicoledphillips (seated w laptop), @Daniel_Knauf, @AlbaMezzoGiorno

L to R: @Tay2theLO, @BrandonBSonnier, @schecpiece, @hlb323 (holding laptop), @BrandonMargolis (holding cup), Sam C (gal next to helen), @JonBokenkamp, @nicoledphillips (seated w laptop), @Daniel_Knauf, @AlbaMezzoGiorno


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🔴 Unanswered Questions

5/26/2015 Final List tweeted to Bokenkamp, Knauf, Metger etc; receipt acknowledged by Knauf and Metzger

This list was compiled from suggestions from Twitter and the WSJ Blacklist blog and shared with several of The Blacklist’s writers and producers.
● Who is the little ballet dancer? (see note #1)
● Who is the girl Red remembers at his house & in his movies? Who was her mother?
● What is Jennifer’s relationship to Red? Daughter, step-daughter?
● Was “Bloody Christmas Eve” real? What happened? (see note #2)
● How/why did Red lose/abandon his family? Was the family he lost (above) different from the one he abandoned on 12/24/1990 (assumed to be Carla/Naomi & Jennifer)?
● Who saved Liz from the fire? Who were the other people there? Why was Red there?
● If Red “never lies to Liz,” why did he say “yes” when she said her only memory of her father was of him pulling her from the fire? (see note #3)
● Who was the man with the red signet ring?
● Why does the version of the argument when Liz shoots her father differ from the argument from Braxton2? (see note #4)
● How did Liz and Red get their scars? Was Liz “branded”? (see note #5)
● Why does the shape of Liz’s scar resemble that on the two “go” boxes and bank envelope?
● Why did Liz tell Red she got the scar from a fire when she was 14 and not 4?
● Who was Liz’s father and what was his relationship to Red? Why would knowing his identity put Liz’s life “in grave danger”? Has the danger passed?
● More about Liz’s mother and her relationship to Red. Was she really a “Mata Hari”? Why did Red say she died “of weakness and shame”? (see note #6)
● Why has a DNA test never been done to see if Red is Liz’s father?
● What was Red’s relationship to Liz (if any) prior to the fire?
● What was Sam’s relationship to Red?
● What was Liz’s father’s “criminal background”? Was this Sam or her bio-dad? Why/how did he “abandon” her?
● How does The Director know what Liz’s mother looked like?
● Why does Liz’s mother wear a ring that Tom thinks looks like one Berlin wore?
● Why did Tom tell Liz “Your father is alive”?
● More about Red’s “weird little apartment” – whose was it, if not his?
● Why would Pepper have the skeleton key for the Fulcrum?
● The Presidential limo ❗
● Is Liz even an American citizen? A Russian citizen?
● Does Liz have the ‘warrior gene’ (the rarer type)? What does this imply about her mother?
● How was the Cabal established? What is their goal (originally planned for 2017)?
● Why was Fitch in Russia? Was Red there? Is that where/when The Cabal was set up?
● Was Red framed?
● What is The Stewmaker’s backstory and is it related to Red’s own history?
● Who is Mr. Kaplan and why is she so good at cleaning up blood etc.?
● What happened with Cooper and Reddington in Kuwait where Reddington gave Cooper the only evidence on the USB drive?
● Are the Germans and/or the Major still hunting Jacob/Tom? Why aren’t the Germans dead?
● And of course: What explains Red’s fascination with Liz?
● P.S. What’s with Liz’s dog❓❗

[ As of end of Season 2 ]
⬆ Back to TOC



Note 1: Age of the little ballerina in [1:16 Mako Tanida]

The service academies do not allow dependents of any kind. Nor do they – in the interest of group cohesion – allow skipping ahead of your class and graduating early. This means that Red could not have graduated prior to 1983, gotten married, and had a daughter before 1984. When he attends the performance of Swan Lake he holds a program for a March 1987 performance. The ballerinas have gossiped that his daughter performed in Swan Lake “years ago.” The girl Red remembers or imagines dancing among the older ballerinas could be as young as 8 or 9, though the actual age of the performer was 12. But Red’s own biological daughter could not have been more than three or four years old in 1987.

Did Red have a step daughter? This scene was one of the most beautiful of Season 1 and fans on many forums have noticed the age issue. Who was the little ballerina and why is Red holding the program to the 1987 performance while his voice in the voiceover offers condolences to Ressler on the loss of his fiancé?

Note 2: The story Red told to Madeline Pratt

The story Red told to Madeline Pratt seems to have been confirmed by Diane Fowler’s telling Red in [1:13 The Cypress Agency] “I know the truth, Red, about that night – about what happened to your family. Do you want to know the truth?” and his emotional response, “More than anything in the world…” before shooting her dead. If not for this, the story could have been dismissed as simply a trick Red played on Madeline. Because of this corroboration, however, the story Red told to Madeline still needs an explanation.

Note 3: “Red never lies to Liz”

If “Red never lies to Liz,” why did he say “yes” when Liz said she remembered her father pulling her from the fire? On the wsj blog (comment dated stamped 2:52 am May 21, 2015 Masha Rostova discussion http://on.wsj.com/1HGFsEG), LizzieB90 gave this explanation:

Red has placed his highest value on blocking from Liz’s memory the fact that she shot her father. She was apparently having nightmares etc. There was a fire (we still need an explanation of why it started) the night that Liz’s father was shot. Liz says Tom told her that her father was alive. Red wants her to know her father is dead, but his highest priority prevents him from saying Liz shot him. So, instead of focusing on the immediate cause, he refers to the general context: “in that fire” or “the night of the fire” (a period of time rather than a cause).

It reflects Red putting one thing above telling the whole truth to her: “I think I will always do what is necessary to keep you safe.” When he decided (with Sam, presumably) to block her memory of what she did, he also committed to not telling her what he blocked. He is even willing to accept her opprobrium in allowing her to speculate that he killed her father because he was in love with her mother – even though we now know he did not kill her father. That’s quite a “sin” to “eat.” But this “lie” told by Red still stands out as blatant, compared to other half truths and misleads offered by Red and may need to be further explained.

[ Cross-posted under “Clues” ]

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🔴 ‘Conspiracies’? Okay – But Forget Bloodlines!

12/8/2014 (Updated 3/31/2015)
As far as I know there is no national board or government agency tasked with deciding what is or is not a “conspiracy theory,” and since this blog is about The Blacklist, not Frontline, ideas are considered “on the merits.” Stupid stuff is thrown out, the rest posted for comment. I note that I’ve been called a conspiracy theorist for 1) saying state capitalism – as in Russia & China – does not welcome the open Internet, and 2) that the TPP trade deal is corporate-friendly and could weaken state sovereignty (companies can sue countries). So, I have a soft spot for people accused of harboring non-MSM views.

However, the one “conspiracy theory” I oppose is the notion of “bloodlines.” It makes me want to tear my hair out. There is no such thing as a bloodline that gets passed along through generations of kingship or kinship. This is nothing but the genomic version of primogeniture. It is also exceptionally un-American.

Mixture and inclusion are the stuff of evolution and change, not consolidation and purity. It’s right there, encoded in the mix-and-match circus of our conception.

Yes, the European Royals (and others) attempted to craft a “better” version of humanity by inbreeding (marriage or cousins or other not-so-distant relatives) but this led to more grief than success in the emergence of diseases based on recessive genes, as Darwin discovered in his own family (NYT 2010: In Darwin Family, Evidence of Inbreeding’s Ill Effect http://nyti.ms/1EY8VmN).

America, if nothing else, has demonstrated, time and again, that brilliance and creativity can arise out of the most meager of ancestries, the “detritus” and outcasts of Europe.

In addition the notion of bloodlines should have been laid to rest with our understanding of the powerful stuff encoded on the X chromosome, which is passed only from mother to son, including the fabled “warrior gene.” No one gets the “warrior gene” from their father.

As a geneticist colleague of mine once told me, “Fact is, there’s nothing much on the Y chromosome.” Some even speculate that it will cease to exist altogether in ‘just a few million years’: Discover: Don’t Mourn the Y Chromosome http://bit.ly/1rSzxpx (10/2/2014).

Plus, there’s the other trick women have always been able to play over the ages, their trump card so to speak. Take Queen Victoria’s mother, who married a feeble king who died shortly theresafter. With Victoria, hemophilia was introduced to the ruling families of Europe. Fact check: hemophilia only “crops up” spontaneously in 1/50,000 cases http://bit.ly/1yZFoc2. Victoria’s mother almost certainly had a secret lover. Queen Victoria herself was almost certainly a bastard. Perhaps you could call it “Victoria’s Secret.” The chief suspect: an Irish [!] courtier.

● DailyMail [UK] 2009: Were Queen Victoria & Prince Albert both illegitimate? http://is.gd/gjb8pN intriguing theory, backed up by science

● SUNY, Aronova-Tiuntseva (1999): Hemophilia, The Royal Disease [pdf] http://bit.ly/1GGZk81 5p

● Newsweek (1995): Was Queen Victoria A Bastard? http://bit.ly/1vEzbT5

The famous feuding cousins of World War I – Kaiser Bill, Cousin Nikki of Russia, and George of England – who led the World into Hell, were likely not even ‘royal’ (a concept which Americans take lightly in any case). Yet their legacy is still being played out in Iraq today, in the stupid way (which they thought clever) in which the victors carved up the Ottoman Empire: the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, which utterly overwrote existing religious and ethnic realities.

Legend. Legacy of WWI: Sykes-Pico Agreement of 1916 awarded parts of the Middle East to the European victor states. Map by Vox http://bit.ly/1G6Z1lB  (5/5/2014)

Legend. Legacy of WWI: Sykes-Pico Agreement of 1916 awarded parts of the Middle East to the European victor states. Map by Vox http://bit.ly/1G6Z1lB (5/5/2014)

And those maternal and paternal haplotypes we each have – are really nothing but a marker that scientists can use to plot the migration of populations over time. Mine originated in Syria or Iraq, and it’s fun to know that there really lived there millenia ago, some actual person related to me (I envision a young girl baking bread in a clay kiln). But the fact is, I am related to people across Europe (even 23andme, showing only up to 5th cousins, of just those in their database) shows this.

If you really want to have your mind blown over something legitimate, embrace instead these facts:

● All people with blue eyes can trace their eye color back to a single mutation which occurred less than 10,000 years ago: LiveScience http://bit.ly/1zhO12B (1/31/2008),

● All Europeans are related if you go back just 1000 years: NBC: http://nbcnews.to/1A8f5jg (May 7,2013), and

● The average European has 2.7% Neanderthal genes (per 23andme}

Bloodlines, no. Mix well and prosper, yes.

Dan Brown, eat your heart out.

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⭕ Borrowed Content in Episode 3:2 Marvin Gerard





For Twitter view: http://bit.ly/1VSMCNs

From JessahmeWren on Tumblr: http://bit.ly/1LjCYJD

Jack: I never told anybody this before, not even your mother. When I was your age, I wanted to be a captain of a ship.
Kevin: How come you didn’t do it?
Kevin: You’d have made a great ship’s captain, Dad.
Jack: Nahhhh – probably not. Probably get sea sick. Huh. Ya know, Kevin. You can’t do every silly thing you want to in life. You have to make your choices. You have to try and be happy with them. I’ve think we’ve done pretty well, don’t you?
Jack: That’s Polaris, the North Star. That’s how the sailors used to find their way home.

The Wonder Years
Episode 1×03: “My Father’s Office”


Red: I’ve never told anyone that before. About a life at sea.
Liz: Why didn’t you do it?
Liz: I think you would’ve made a terrific captain.
Red: I don’t know. You can’t do every silly thing you want to in life.You have to make your choices. You have to try to be happy with them. I think we’ve done pretty well.
Red: That’s Polaris, the North Star. That’s how sailors used to find their way home.

The Blacklist
Episode 3×02: “Marvin Gerard” (Final Scene)

Reblogged from:


For more on Twitter:: http://bit.ly/1jp2BSC

Tumblr, Irish-Buzzsaw: Humble Magic http://bit.ly/1OEltYX
Tumblr, hideous-fish: and I am only this, a kind of lingering pause… http://bit.ly/1Ll352L

Note The only mention of this in the script is a very understated link button to this note. I avoid factionalism on this blog and look for the facts underlying it. I cannot ignore an issue so topical to this section. To me this matter remains mysterious; the broken spirits unfortunate.

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🔴 #AskSpader Twitter Q&A: Selected Tweets

10/1/2015 8pm CT

I guess for the moment, I’ll assume James Spader is enough involved in the show’s writing to post his responses to questions on Twitter here in “The Writers’ Room.” Besides, it’s for this section that I’ve wanted to learn how to “embed” tweets.…

Most challenging thing about role


On Red’s relationship with Liz


Favorite city


What do you look for in a role?


What drew you to role of Red?


Does Red enjoy being on the run?


How do you prepare?


Can we expect the same Red?


How has character evolved?


Can Red forgive Tom?



How are you like Red?


What is most challenging about becoming Red?


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🔴 How a Blacklist Episode Comes Together

♤Episode 3:15 Drexel


Dave Metzger, one of the Blacklist writers who has been very interactive and helpful to fans on Twitter, has made available a fascinating feature on how a Blacklist episode comes together. Anyone interested in writing or producing should find this informative.


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⭕ “A child shall lead them”

2/25-6/2016; chrono

Tracy Downey @msgoddessrises
@BlacklistDCd I mentioned this: A baby monitor, a nanny, NSA spyware-who’s watching whom? 😉
@msgoddessrises interesting placement of 3:15 Drexel themes; read a great fanfic where Liz does give up baby for adoption …
[ lost tweet: about how adoptive parents were sponsored by Red! who places baby with a couple he knows ]
Tracy Downey
@BlacklistDCd I don’t see that happening-The writers are DEFINITELY going to break some rules you won’t see coming.
@msgoddessrises as long as I’m not miserable for 6 months, like after Decembrist; I like to rant about diff betwn “surprise” & “catharsis”
@msgoddessrises uh huh Zap2It: ‘Big reveals coming up’ on ‘The Blacklist’ http://bit.ly/1Kgl5Ri according to NBC entertainment pres
Tracy Downey
@BlacklistDCd @Zap2it yep. I figured out three just by the dialogue
@msgoddessrises hope so! I’d hate to get bored!

expect a Holy War and a child shall lead them

Tracy Downey
@BlacklistDCd yeah you won’t get bored be prepared to be thrown for a loop tho!
@msgoddessrises as long as I’m not miserable for 6 months, like after Decembrist; I like to rant about diff betwn “surprise” & “catharsis”
Tracy Downey
@BlacklistDCd expect a Holy War and a child shall lead them. 😉
@msgoddessrises getting all biblical like Harry Potter; well that’s where the grand themes are ➔ I hope they go as grand as they can …
@msgoddessrises I have caveats, but I love where they’ve taken it so far; a few continuity problems from time to time, otherwise perfect

Red is fighting the mythic battle

BlacklistDclassified @BlacklistDCd
@msgoddessrises @NBCBlacklist I loved your predictions btw; hope they go there; D Knauf (assc prod) loves religious themes, so they could …
Tracy Downey
@BlacklistDCd @NBCBlacklist well Vincent Angell wrote The Vehm but I see a Holy War most definitely. Red is fighting the mythic battle.
@msgoddessrises @NBCBlacklist I want to see it go to that level but not lose it’s connection to real history, real science which anchor it
Tracy Downey
@msgoddessrises @BlacklistDCd @NBCBlacklist see that’s tough because a tv show must evolve to get to 7 seasons. I’m excited about this direction.

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⭕ Daniel Knauf on TV Writing



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⭕ “Listen to me: You’re great – A fan letter

March 3, 2016

I saw this letter on the Cast and Crew Twitter list and liked it so much I am reposting it here. Skip down for larger print.

Cross-posted under “Scribblings”



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